World's Marvels and Substances Book

This text contains sections extracted from the second part of the well-known and highly popular work of cosmography known as ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt, written in the 13th century (7th century AH) by Abū Yaḥyā Zakarīyā al-Qazwīnī. The work begins with a section on the sources and properties of gems and stones, followed by sections on herbs, seeds, nuts and fruits, spices, the body parts of animals, and so forth. It also contains geographical information, for example the names and locations of major bodies of water such as the Mediterranean Sea, and of islands, mountains, and other geographic features. Unlike many other known manuscripts of this work, this manuscript is not illustrated.

History of the Revolution in New Spain

Fray Servando Teresa de Mier was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico in 1763. He entered the Dominican order at age 16, studied philosophy and theology, and obtained a doctorate at age 27. Sentenced to exile in Spain after a sermon deemed provocative, Mier was imprisoned and escaped several times. He worked with Simón Rodríguez, a future mentor to Simón Bolívar, in France where he was later involved in hostilities against Napoleon. Historia de la Revolución de Nueva España (History of the revolution in New Spain), published in London in 1813 under the pseudonym José Guerra, is his most representative work and reflects the liberal ideals he had absorbed in France and Britain. Mier gained a reputation as an outstanding scholar, an independent and progressive thinker, and an excellent orator. The revolutionary movement for independence of 1810 inspired Mier to develop this comprehensive defense of Mexican independence. He argued that the legal and juridical basis of New Spain’s independence was the “social pact” established between the king of Spain and his subjects in the Americas shortly after the Spanish arrived on the continent. The Spanish lands in the New World had a constitution and fundamental laws based on this social pact, which meant that these territories were not colonies, but separate realms federated with Spain through the person of the king. The fact that the Spanish crown had not in practice complied with these fundamental laws did not negate their legal validity or historical importance. The relationship between Spain and its subjects in the Americas was based on this social pact, which could not be modified without the consent of those subjects. Mier further argued that God had separated America and Europe by an ocean and that the native peoples of the Americas had different interests from the people of Spain, which negated any Spanish right to direct rule over the Americas.